The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is distributing $1.37 million in grants among six transit agencies for projects that demonstrate and evaluate innovative technologies to maintain a state of good repair.
Through the Real-Time Transit Infrastructure and Rolling Stock Condition Assessment Research and Demonstration Program, agencies in Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Texas and Utah will deploy technologies that “assess, detect, monitor and track deficiencies related to infrastructure” and evaluate the technologies’ “cost-effectiveness and practicality,” according to FTA, which announced the availability of program funding in May.
The following have been awarded grants:
• University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, $395,000. In partnership with four transit agencies, the university will install “smart sensing modules that provide real-time monitoring of rail transit infrastructure and rolling stock.”
• Maryland Department of Transportation, Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT, MTA), $150,000. MDOT and MTA will “initiate an electronic inventory of its light rail system to monitor, detect and identify track deficiencies.” The aim: to “maintain a more accurate assessment” of the system.
• Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), $170,000. The Philadelphia-based agency will deploy automated scanning technology to assess catenary condition across its 262-mile regional commuter rail network.
• Dallas Area Rapid Transit Authority (DART), $184,000. DART will use real-time digital technology to monitor its rail stations, tracks, bridges, tunnels and highway/rail grade crossings.
• Utah Transit Authority (UTA), $338,155. The Salt Lake City-based agency will develop an optical imaging system to monitor rail system conditions.
• Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County, Nevada (RTC), $131,661. In partnership with the University of Nevada, RTC will demonstrate real-time transit infrastructure monitoring of its bus system in the city of Reno. Electronic sensors will help RTC “in maintaining its system in a state of good repair.”
“FTA is leveraging cutting-edge technology to better maintain our nation’s transit assets, which will improve safety for both riders and front-line workers,” FTA Deputy Administrator K. Jane Williams said. “These innovative new designs will help transit systems maintain a state of good repair, which is particularly important during the COVID-19 public health emergency.”